Three key conclusions from our recent USA Today/Gallup Poll: 1) Most frequent fliers say that the invasion of privacy is worth the benefit of stopping terrorists, 2) there has been no uptick in self-reported avoidance of flying compared to January, and 3) relatively few travelers are angry about the full body scans or the pat downs. (See here for a full analysis by my colleague Lymari Morales). Taken as a whole, the data show less concern than might be expected given the huge buzz of publicity about the procedures.
Understanding the degree to which such buzz represents more general public opinion is one of the major functions of scientific polling. Highly vocal minorities of people, aided and abetted by media focused on building dramatic story lines in order capture attention and generate clicks, can make it seem as if the whole country shares their concerns. Often that is not the case.
President Barack Obama’s job approval rating remains remarkably steady -- in the mid-40s -- showing little sustained change for months now.
- George W. Bush -- Nov. 22-24, 2002 -- 65%
- Bill Clinton -- Nov. 28-29, 1994 -- 43%
- George H.W. Bush -- Nov. 15-18, 1990 -- 54%
- Ronald Reagan -- Nov. 19-22, 1982 -- 43%
- Jimmy Carter -- Nov. 10-13, 1978 -- 52%
- Richard Nixon -- Nov. 12-17, 1970 -- 57%
- John Kennedy -- Nov. 16-21, 1962 -- 74%
- Dwight Eisenhower -- Nov. 11-16, 1954 -- 57%
This suggests the government may report a drop in unemployment for November. Stay tuned for continuing updates on this measure.
Which leads to an important conclusion. Given the quite low esteem in which Congress is held by Americans at this point, doing nothing on both of these tax fronts (i.e., letting the estate tax jump back up and letting the Bush tax cuts expire) could result in a very upset American public.